Make your best offer

I was brought up not to ask about money

Written by: Daniel Shaw
3 minute read
Image: Make your best offer

I’m most likely showing my age here but as a child, I was brought up not to ask about money, it was a bit of a taboo subject, one which seems so old fashioned now as my children are very in tune with the value of money. They are interested in how much we charge for our services and how much our candidates can earn in their chosen field. Of course, we don’t go to work just for the money but in the mix, it is a key ingredient and has a certain level of pride and status attached. What we are paid for our hard work can make us feel worthy or disgruntled, we can start off feeling worthy and as time goes by become disgruntled, discovering the role is so much harder than we anticipated or the level of responsibility has grown faster and become out of kilter with the level of reward.

Take a step back and think about the last time you moved to a new role, the expectation of the phone call from the recruiter, at that point knowing an offer was likely to be made but not knowing the detail. It is a bit like waiting for your GCSE / A level results, a heightened emotional state wanting to know the outcome, hoping to feel elation, not deflation.

If the delivery of the offer is not conducted well, is clumsy, and not thought through it can have an unrecoverable impact on whether the role is accepted or declined. Each aspect regarding the lead up to the offer needs to have been handled with due care and attention to detail. Managing expectations every step of the way both for the client and the candidate – no nasty surprises, no unexpected curve balls.

Of course, the best-laid plans often change and when dealing with people it is true, we must expect the unexpected however some situations can be completely avoided by asking the right questions and being honest and transparent from the outset.

It is critical the budget has been agreed and signed off pre briefing and advertising stage, this will avoid unnecessary time wasting and potential brand damage further down the line. The recruitment partner acting on behalf of the client and candidate must know the full package and have uncovered the detail of the candidate’s current full package (not just the basic salary). There are so many differentials in the market regarding levels of additional remuneration which need to be openly discussed and relayed before going too far and wasting precious time.

Bonus ranging from 15 – 40%, Car allowance from £5,000 to £10,000, Pension matched contributions from 5% – 11%, Compensation for travel & parking, share schemes etc

These elements will affect the total remuneration by a significant amount, particularly at the senior level even though the ‘basic’ element may well represent a comparison or uplift.

There is probably nothing more frustrating for a hiring manager than an offer being declined due to the compensation offered not meeting expectations. The candidate will equally feel frustrated and disappointed often left with a bitter taste and a negative view of the company which is a sad way for a recruitment process to end. The time taken in mismanaging this offer could even have an impact on the potential second candidate – a double blow!

The more experienced recruiters will guide the client and candidate through the process and no doubt can recall having experienced dire offer situations in their earlier recruitment career and will do anything to avoid this happening again.

Make the candidate your best offer and ensure the process is managed sensitively and professionally by your recruitment partner, you are trusting them to close the deal and if delivered in the wrong way you could be back to sifting through CV’s again.

Internal bandings should be guidelines, not barriers, are they in line with the market, when were they last reviewed, could they prevent personal and career development, can they be repositioned?

Being seen to be fair to existing team members within the structure can impact on the salary you are able to offer. Bringing external talent in from the outside to join an existing stable team may disrupt the pay equality if your current team are underpaid compared to your competitors. Worth discussing further if this is preventing you from attracting the right people to your business.

I have been brave enough to refuse (strongly advise) to extend a ‘sub-standard’ offer on behalf of a client, advising of the inevitable outcome and the damage it could cause

Some clients make a cheeky offer with the intention of ‘testing’ the candidates’ interest levels or to see if they are strong enough to negotiate or to simply take advantage of the candidate who is out of work in a tough market. It’s true some clients may think they have done well but these acceptances are often short lived, and the candidate will never feel truly valued, sometimes moving on earlier than anticipated. What’s even more insulting is when a candidate turns down the lowballed offer to find the offer suddenly increased off the back of a call from the recruiter, not a great way to start a business relationship. Why not just present the candidate with the best offer in the first place and if delivered correctly by your recruiter the outcome should be positive and celebratory.

The offer is the end of the interview process, it’s the moment all parties have been working so hard to reach, it needs to be a positive experience a time for celebration, if expectations have not been managed well throughout it can be quite the reverse. I compare it to the child at Xmas hoping for a new Scalextric racing car setunwrapping the box that is the right size and weight only to find an unbranded cheaper copy in its place, a feeling of disappointment, almost embarrassmenta memory that sticks and is hard to recover from. 

(Mine wasn’t a Scalextric…. even worse – a hamster instead of a rabbit)